If you do a job with the sole purpose of making money you are absurd. Because if money becomes the goal - and it does when you work that way - you begin increasingly to confuse it with happiness or with pleasure. One can take a whole handful of crisp dollar bills and practically water your mouth over them. But this is a person who is confused, like a Pavlov dog who salivates on the wrong bell.
He felt certain now that the terror at the core of everything was not imagined, but real, essential, fundamental to consciousness. And he also knew from experience that this terror could be channeled into work, the pursuit of pleasure or money; or managed with yoga, meditation, ascetic practices; surrendered to religion, political causes, philosophical contemplation; sublimated into neurotic fixations, dramatic romances, jealousies and games of glory; or numbed with drugs, entertainment, sarcasm and sex. Even art, the consumption and creation of music, literature, film, dance seemed to skirt around the basic inescapable fact of the deafening terror of existence. And so what he wanted to know was, could the terror be met head on, actually engaged with, truly experienced? And what would happen then?
Where the moralist would be filled with indignation and the tragic poet with pity and terror, mythology breaks the whole of life into a vast, horrendous Divine Comedy.
What we would like is a God who never destroyed what he created. Or if there must be pain and death, let them be meted out by a God of righteousness, who will punish the wicked and reward the good with everlasting happiness. But in fact the good get hurt, the innocent suffer. Then let there be a god who sympathizes and brings comfort. But Nataraja only dances.
A long time ago I cut myself in two.
These days, everybody is supposed to be so intelligent: ‘Isn’t it terrible about Nixon getting elected?’ ‘Did you hear about the earthquake in Peru?’ And you’re supposed to have all the answers. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, like, ‘What is bugging you, mister? Why can’t you make it with your wife? Why do you lie awake all night staring at the ceiling? Why, why, why do you refuse to recognize you have problems and deal with them?’ The answer is that people have forgotten how to relate or respond. In this day of mass communications and instant communications, there is no communication between people. Instead it’s long-winded stories or hostile bits, or laughter. But nobody’s really laughing. It’s more an hysterical, joyless kind of sound. Translation: ‘I am here and I don’t know why.’